Remembering Experiences of Internment
Each February 19th, Japanese Americans across the United States commemorate the experiences of internment during World War II during a Day of Remembrance on the anniversary of the President Roosevelt's signing of Executive Order 9066, which mandated the internment of Americans of Japanese heritage, including citizens. Alongside this commemoration, we remember the experiences of German nationals and US citizens of German heritage who were interned in the United States during the war period. A current exhibit at the Texas State History Museum explores these experiences, particularly of those individuals who were imprisoned in Crystal City, Texas, and are featured in this Your Story, Our Story collection. From a young German-American man's registration card for US military service, to ship tickets for a family who chose to be deported and ultimately lose their US citizenship instead of staying interned, these objects' stories highlight the impact of incarceration on people of German and Japanese heritage during World War II. The German Americans featured in these stories were all part of a prisoner exchange, where those held at Crystal City Internment Camp in Texas were brought to New York and sent to Germany in exchange for American and Latin American prisoners of war in Europe. As we honor and remember these experiences of the past, we ask ourselves: what lessons can we learn for our present and future?
A Year of Remembrance commemoration event will take place on Friday, February 15th at Harborside Atrium, Jersey City, with surviving internees and their families sharing stories. Visit their Facebook page for more information and stories.